The Rights Of Women In Islam

The Rights Of Women In Islam

By Dr Maqsood Jafri

I would like to cite a few lines written on the Facebook wall of Ms. Nighat Hafiz before opining on the subject as her sentences deeply concern the issue under discussion. She writes: “Women would wait eagerly for a son and go on producing more and more daughters. We had a curse in history and belief system that worked on phrases like: “May God punish and befall you with a trail of eleven daughters.” She further writes: “It was considered a sure way to bring adversity and misfortune for the enemy.”

The birth of a daughter is not welcomed in our culture. Before, the advent of Islam, the birth of daughters was considered very obnoxious and disgraceful act. In this context, the Holy Quran in Surah Al-Nahl (The Bee) says:

“When the birth of a girl is announced to one of them, his face grows dark and he is filled with inward gloom. Because of the bad news, he hides himself from men: should he keep her with disgrace or bury her under the dust? Verily evil is their judgment!” (Quran 16:59)

While, the Quran says that the men and women are like ornamental dress to each other. On the event of the Last Pilgrimage, on the Mount of Arafat, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) made special mention of the womenfolk and their honour, rights, safety and protection.

The question arises as to why some of the Arabs used to bury their daughters alive? According to the Arab culture, in battles, the fighting tribes used to capture the young daughters of the enemy camp and misuse them sexually. They were made concubines and maids. They were mostly sold in open markets. They were like purchasable commodities. Hence, some egotistical, and self-conceited people used to bury their daughters alive at their birth time to evade any future mishap. They used to consider the birth of a daughter as a great social disgrace.

Islam strictly stopped this destructive and malicious practice and gave much respect to womenfolk. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) gave much love and respect to her daughter Bibi Fatima (SA). He used to get up on her arrival to show respect for his sweet daughter. I would like to suggest the educated young girls to read the book of great modern Muslim thinker Dr Ali Shariati written in Persian language titled فاطمہ فاطمہ است(Fatima is Fatima). This book has been translated into English and Urdu. In this book Dr Ali Shariati has explicitly discussed the positive role of Muslim women and their rights granted to them by Islam.

Before Islam, daughters had no share in the inheritance. Islam gave share to daughters as well. All social evils like forced marriages, domestic violence and trade of women was prohibited by Islam. The Persian poem of Dr Allama gratifies the social and spiritual status of Bibi Fatima and exhorts the Muslim ladies to follow into her footsteps as she is role model for womenfolk.

In my book titled “The Message of Islam”, in a chapter titled “Islamic Philosophy of Gender”, I have written in detail that Islam accords and grants equal rights and respect to men and women. Then, in my other book titled “The Rational Study of Islam” in a chapter titled “The Women in Islam”, I have cited the verse from the Holy Quran that says:

“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women because Allah has given the one more strength/degree then the other and because they support them from their means. Therefore, the righteous women are devotedly obedient, and guard in (the husband’s absence) what Allah would have them guard.” (Quran 4:34)

Then, in Surah “The Repentance”, the Quran again says that the men and women are called protectors one of another.

Elder George is an American writer. Once, in New York, we had a scholarly discussion about the gender issue. He gifted me his book titled “Patriarchy”. In this book from the object of Nature, animals, plants and mathematics and numerically, he proved the supremacy of male over females in certain cases. He proved that the whole Universe is patriarchal. In the light of his dissertation, one feels pertinent to acknowledge that it is the social, economic and psychological reason that the birth of a son is welcomed and birth of a daughter is disliked on some tribal and traditional cultures.

The other reason is that in our traditional culture, the sons look after their parents in their old and ailing age, while the daughters leave the house of father after marriage and are at the mercy of their husbands. There are so many other factors which are the cause of male domination or supremacy in traditional societies.

One point to ponder upon is that if a lady has given birth to two or three daughters, she should not be forced to keep on producing kids until the birth of a son. In some families, a lady does not give birth even producing eight girls. It is not her fault. She cannot change the course and cycle of Nature. Besides, in some cults, family planning is prohibited and considered as a sin.

Great British philosopher Bertrand Russell, at a place writes that once, he proposed to a priest known to him to stop producing more kids as he already had eleven kids and his wife was very week and ailing. The priest responded that family planning is prohibited in his religion as he belongs to Christian sect Catholicism. The lady died while giving birth to twelfth child. Bertrand Russell mockingly and sarcastically writes that after a few months that priest married a young girl, hence his religious faith became the cause of the death of his wife.

Similarly, in Muslims, there are some retrogressive clerics who oppose family planning and prohibit their followers from family planning. The Quran has prohibited the killing of kids on the matters of nourishment, procuring and upbringing in the case of poverty. Family Planning is not the killing of embryos or kids. No country which is over populated can meet the public needs.

I consider it the case of women’s rights if they are forced to produce children more than a family need. In poor countries, it is advised that more than two kids should not be produced. We are living in 21st century and we must protect the human rights. The Women’s Rights must be our priority.


Categories: Islam, Opinion

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: